Oyo Moves To Partner IITA On Food Security

Mohammed Shosanya

Oyo state governor,Seyi Makinde,has expressed intent of his administration to collaborate with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to ensure food security in the state.

He disclosed while receiving the Director-General of the IITA and CGIAR Regional Director, Continental Africa, Dr. Simeon Ehui and his team at the Courtesy Room of the Governor’s Office.

Appreciating the Institute for its collaborative efforts with the state since he took office in 2019, Makinde said he would partner with the Institute to address the challenges of food insecurity and that by so doing, the state would have solved the poverty problem by a half.

He maintained that his government is determined to tackle the challenge of food insecurity, saying: “As a country, we are going through challenges right now, in the economy, they have removed the lid on the exchange rates, and also PMS subsidy has been removed, so these have brought in quite a bit of hardship on the people.

“If you also look into the needs of the people, they say that if you take care of hunger then, poverty has been solved, so you cannot toy with the issue of food security. This means that leaders at this particular time in this country have to work three times as hard for anyone to even notice that they are doing something.

“With the IITA, if we focus on taking care of hunger through food security in our state, then we would have been able to solve half of the challenges ahead of us.

“So, I want to pledge that, even though it is a new DG, as a state we will continue to work together to tackle food security within our state and within the country and the continent. So, we will continue to partner with you,” the governor said.

He said he was looking forward to further profitable partnerships with the Institute, even as he added that the government would continue with the Start Them Early Programme (STEP), which trains secondary school students in Oyo state on agribusiness practices.

He said: “On behalf of the people of Oyo State, I welcome you back to your home and to your state. I like the idea that you have been here at IITA as a young researcher and now you are back as the DG after going around the world.

“What that means to us is that you have brought back all the knowledge you must have acquired and also you have the opportunity to do those things that, as a young researcher you had thought if I have this opportunity I can do this. Now, the opportunity is here so you have to file those things out.

“Personally also, let me use this opportunity to say thank you to the team at IITA.

“When we came in about four years ago, we sat down, of course I asked Dr Debo Akande, we have around Ibadan here almost six or seven research institutes, we have IITA, we have Forestry Research Institute, we have National Cereals Institute, Cocoa Research Institute, NIHORT, so I said what are we getting as a state from these research institutes? How have they benefitted us as a state?

“That interaction actually gave birth to STEP programme and it has been very successful and I am glad that the state government collaborated with IITA to focus on those youngsters.

“I would like to say that the programme will continue and now, we plan to extend it to other parts of the state. So, we will continue the programme.”

In his remarks,the IITA boss and CGIAR Regional Director, Continental Africa, Dr. Ehui, said the Institute is ready to work with the state government to improve the food security system in the state.

He said the food system in Africa is being challenged due to climate change,and assured the state of more support from the Institute, as it partners with it to deliver on their mandates.

ABP: CBN Faults IMF Loan Non Repayment Claim

By Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),has faulted claims by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) that the loans given to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) are not being repaid promptly.

The CBN’s Acting Spokesman Dr. AbdulMumin Isa,who echoed this in a statement obtained by Premium News,said 52.39 per cent of the loans it granted under the ABP have been repaid.

He said: “total repayments as of the end of February 2023 under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) stood at N503 billion, representing 52.39 per cent.The balance was not due for repayment because they are under moratorium due to the COVID-19 forbearance granted to beneficiaries of the CBN’s interventions in March 2020 and extended to February 28, 2022”.

He said the CBN has so far released “the sum of N1.079 trillion, as of February 28, 2023, and pledged the bank’s commitment to stimulate access to finance for the real sector.

He added: “it is pertinent to note that the tenor of loans under the ABP is based on the commodity gestation period. For instance, loans granted to farmers cultivating some perennial crops could have up to a seven-year tenor”.

According to him,the CBN’s core objective for its interventions is to catalyze “the economy’s productive base, continue to support investments in capital assets in sectors with high-growth and employment-elastic potential.

He explained that CBN ABP had supported about 4.57 million smallholder farmers at end-February, 2023, who cultivated over 6.02 million hectares of 21 commodities across the country”.

He listed the commodities as rice, wheat, cowpea, millet, maize, cotton, fish, soya bean, poultry, cassava, groundnut, ginger, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, sesame, tomato, castor seed, yellow pepper, onions, and cattle/dairy.

He added that the ABP has hithertho contributed significantly to the increased national output of focal commodities, with maize and rice peaking at 12.2 and 9.0 million metric tonnes in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

He said the programme had also helped to improve the national average yield per hectare of these commodities, with productivity per hectare almost doubling within the eight years of the Programme’s implementation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its country report titled ‘Nigeria: Selected Issues’, had revealed that as at January 12, 2023 about 76 percent of the loans granted to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) are yet to be repaid.

It said agricultural credit in Nigeria generally has not succeeded in increasing production because of “the difficulty in targeting the correct recipients”.

NLNG, LCCI Harp On Sustainable Food Security In Nigeria


Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI),recently presented the joint-winning works of The Nigeria Prize for Science (2022) to industry players in order to push agricultural innovations that can positively impact food security in the country.

The presentation of the winning works, Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivars under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions by Dr Muhydideen Oyekunle and Professor Shehu Ado; and Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour by Professor Sesan Peter Ayodeji and Dr Emmanuel Olatunji Olutomilola was made at an interactive business forum.

“Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivers under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions” speaks to developing hybrid, high-yielding and water stress-tolerant maize seeds.

On the other hand, Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour is an important innovation for reducing the spoilage of farm products. It is also resourceful in scaling up from batch production to industrial-scale continuous flour production and it is relevant beyond plantain to other food items.

The guests at the event included the General Manager of External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh; the LCCI President, Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole; the LCCI Director-General, Dr. Chinyere Almona; and members of the Nigeria Prize for Science Advisory Board, Chief (Dr) Nike Akande and Professor Yusuf Abubakar.

Speaking,Mr Odeh said the Prize’s focus on Food Security in 2022 was in line with Goal Two (2) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger by 2030 and to achieve food security.

He said the company was interested in the impact the innovations would have on food security and socio-economic well-being of Nigerians, and stated further that the Company was aware that it is not enough to have innovations without them impacting society.

“Being a company committed to building a better Nigeria, NLNG is seeking ways to ensure that these improvements bring about positive developmental change in its home country,” he stated.

The Chairman of the Prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Barth Nnaji, who was represented by Board member, Chief (Dr) Nike Akande, stated that the innovations had the potential for high impact.

“There are two components to it. There is one about machinery. By developing such equipment, we are making significant progress in-country. Then, there is the technique of producing a product with a multiplier effect and many benefits. This interactive workshop will raise awareness for our society to know that these two aspects are real outcomes from last year’s prize.

“The business community and industries are the ones that should take that outcome to society. It is also our strategic view that this event would bring to the fore investment networks and harmonisation of efforts to support agriculture in Nigeria,” he said.

Cashew Exporters To Rake In $500m In 2023

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubarkar, has said that cashew export will fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.

He stated this on Wednesday at the launch of Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony with the theme:” Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies”.

He also disclosed that of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed.

The Minister,who was represented at the event by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said at the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.

He said:”I therefore, implore you to continue working together in harmony as this is the only way you can make positive impact towards sustainable development of the cashew industry and ensuring its contribution in achieving the overall goal of this Administration’s Economic Diversification Agenda.

“In Nigeria, cashew is increasing in its importance as an export oriented cash crop since in the 1990’s. It has become an important source of non-oil export earnings (estimated to represent over 10% GDP based on export data of 2022). It has become a commercial crop in Nigeria and is cultivated in 27 States of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“In realization of the importance of Cashew, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development listed Cashew as a priority crop to be promoted under the Import Substitution Strategy of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Cashew value chain is among the crops being promoted under the Value Chain Programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Ministry has carried out a number of activities over the years to promote the growth of the value chain in the country. These includes:distribution of improved seeds/seedlings to cashew farmers free of charge,establishment of cashew cottage industries in some states, distribution of agro-chemicals/growth enhancers, carbon free jute bags, knapsack sprayers, water pump to cashew farmers free of charge, conduct of capacity building/training, sensitization exercise, stakeholders meeting e.t.c.

“As a result of the above activities by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, jobs were created along the value chain, income of farmers improved and our country’s foreign exchange earnings also improved. At the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmer about $500million by 2023.

” it is important to note however that, one of the major constraints of the cashew industry in Nigeria is skill gap, technological know-how on processing, inadequate processing capacity of our processing plants and equipment.

” Of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed while Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) are sold to cashew buying agents for export and cashew apple eaten raw and the rest wasted because of inadequate facilities to process other cashew derivative e.g cashew juice, jam, ice cream etc. This means exporting Nigerian jobs to other countries.

Edo state governor, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Stephen Idehenre, said government hope is to see the event attract more investors, impact knowledge , harmonize our cashew industry for the gain of the state economy .

Obaseki said: “Our collaboration with the private sector to grow the oil Palm and cassava value chains are testimonies of how well thought policies could foster effective economic growth and development. The state is campioning the biggest single investment in oil Palm production in Africa through Edo State Oil Palm Programme.

” A total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to nine investors in this respect. The theme of this event is apt as the development of Inclusive Policies for the sector will no doubt grow cashew value chains as demonstrated by the Eso state government in its Oil Palm intensification initiative.

“The state is making an effort to ease farmers access to improved seeing for increased productivity. 40,000 caco seedlings would be distributed in 2023 to Cocoa farmers in the State. Also , 150,000 cashew seedlings would be distributed under our collaboration with PRO- Cashew , a project funded by USDA, and implemented by cultivating new frontiers in Agriculture.

In 2021, 50,000 cashew seedlings were distributed to farmers under the collaboration between the state government and the federation of agricultural commodity associations of Nigeria.

Speaking,the National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Prince Ojo Joseph Ajanaku, said at present Nigeria is said to be the 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.

Prince Ojo posited that, cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.

He said: “The National Cashew Association of Nigeria was founded in 1999 to harmonize and coordinate the affairs of cashew private sector players for the profitability of all stakeholders. NCAN’s long term goal is to transform Nigeria from a low-priced commodity producer to a reliable supplier and exporter of high-quality cashew products (kernels, nuts, foods and indigenous innovations etc.).

“Nigeria is currently said to be 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.Cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.

” It is worthy to mention that cashew can be produced in all states in Nigeria, however, only 22 states including the FCT are currently producing cashew in commercial volume.
More than 3 million people in Nigeria, mostly women, works in the cashew sector, which also provides the primary source of household income for more than one million rural households in Nigeria.

“While cashew output in Nigeria has experienced growth, the same cannot be said for the country’s processing capacities.
Less than 10% of cashew nut production is processed locally in Nigeria, which presents significant constraint for the country’s value addition efforts.

” Although a number of processors have successfully supplied the international market, they still need to be helped to strengthen and grow their tiny market share.
Major constraints include the high cost of capital and high staff turnover but, more importantly, the difficulty in purchasing and storing raw nuts to process throughout the year”.

Nigeria To Produce 30m mt Of Rice By 2030

The Federal Government has announced that it is targetting to produce locally 30million metric tonnes of rice by 2030.

At the launch of the National Rice Development Strategy II (NRDS II, 2020-2030) and the Competitive African Rice Platform (CARP) SRP-Nigeria in Abuja, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, Competitive Africa Rice Platform (CARP)/Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) Focal Person, said Nigeria is currently producing over 15 million metric tonnes of rice.

He said Nigeria has the potential to attain self-sufficiency in rice production within the targeted period.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said the Federal Government was committed to the promotion of agricultural sector in order to realise its potential of achieving food and nutrition security for Nigeria”s teeming population.

He explained that the rice value chain has been identified as being strategic to achieving the lofty objective of food and nutritional security.

He recalled that the NRDS I which was used to develop the Rice Transformation Agenda under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda and Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) served as a catalyst for the commencement of the Rice revolution in the country.

The minister noted its implementation began with the adoption of a Value Chain system as a holistic approach to transform the rice sector in Nigeria, adding that this initiative has helped the Government to provide enablers and support to Rice production, processing and marketing end to end.

“It encouraged a private sector-driven agriculture that started in 2011 as an adopted strategy of the Federal Government to reduce the huge import bill by accelerating paddy production, improve processing quality and promoting consumption of home grown rice,” he said.

The significant success recorded in the implementation of NRDS 1, he said in 2020 , the National paddy production rose significantly  towards the rice self-sufficiency.

He said:”NRDS I was reviewed to give rise to the formulation of a new NRDS document in 2021.

“The NRDS II document is a ten-year plan which seeks to provide direction for the development of the rice sub-sector to achieve government’s goals of self-sufficiency in rice production, food and nutrition security, employment creation and production of surplus for export.

“The document was adopted at the 4th National Council of Agriculture (NCA) which was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja in 2021 by all the stakeholders with support from Competitive Africa Rice Platform (CARP).

“CARP formerly known as Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) is dedicated to the productivity and sustainability of the Rice industry with two main objectives which are to ensure the competitiveness of Nigerian Rice and sustainability of the Nigeria rice sector. The Competitive African Rice Platform CARP (SRP)-Nigeria is a multi-stakeholders’ platform set up to advocate policies and drive transformational changes in standard practices in the rice sector.”

CBN Gives N81bn Rebate To Exporters Of Non-Oil Products

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed about N81 billion in rebates to Nigerian exporters.

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria,Godwin Emefiele spoke on Tuesday in Lagos at the second Edition of the RT200 bi-annual conference with the theme: “RT200 Non-Oil Export Program: The Journey So Far”.

He noted that of this amount, only $1.966 billion qualified for the rebate program, but only $1.559 billion was sold at the Investors and Exporters (I &E) window or for own use.

He said events in the last three quarters have shown that when the bank makes a commitment, it keeps that commitment to the latter.

“I know that there have been calls to make all exporters eligible for the rebate, and not just limit it to finished and semi-finished products.While we see some justification for this, one of the goals of the RT200 program is to help quicken the process of industrialization and encourage exporters to earn more from their export business,” Emefiele stated.

He said the conference looks at what has been achieved since the first summit and the result of the collaborative efforts by all stakeholders in the export value chain as well as areas for further improvement and collaboration.

He said for exporters, flying the flag of Nigeria in the international market,the Bankers’ Committee and the CBN stand ready to partner with them to achieve their goals.

He said exporters can benefit from the many financial programs introduced by the CBN through their bank to grow their businesses.

He also said export can transform the economic structure of countries, from simple, slow-growing, and low-value activities to more productive activities that enjoy greater margins driven by technology.

He added:“We must help our exporters and our economy by adding value to what we produce and export. We are already getting feedback from banks on the interest of exporters to add value to the products they export in order to allow them to benefit from the program.

“We are happy that this is happening, and we encourage more exporters to find ways to add value to their export products so that they can benefit not only from the scheme but get better value for their exports.

“We are already getting feedback from banks on the interest by exporters to add value to the products they export in order to allow them to benefit from the program. We are happy that this is happening, and we encourage more exporters to find ways to add value to their export products so that they can benefit not only from the scheme but get better value for their exports.”

Enugu: PDP Guber Candidate Promises To Create 1.2m Jobs From Agriculture

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has promised to create over 1.2 million jobs for the citizens using the opportunities presented by the state’s abundant potentials in agriculture and agro-allied industries.

Mbah,who disclosed this during an interactive session with the members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Enugu State Chapter,said his plan to transform the agricultural sector from subsistence farming to mechanised farming and agro-allied industrialisation would lead to the creation of different economic zones in the state to create at least 1.2 million jobs for the teeming youths.

“Our objective in the agricultural sector is to have special agro-allied processing zones across the three senatorial districts. We are also going to deploy technology, not just migrating from manual to mechanised agriculture, but also migrating from pipeline to platform means in intervening in the agricultural sector.

“We can’t afford to do a catch up because basically technology is taking over the space and we have to do a quantum leap and be in front and make sure that our farmers are ICT literate so that we will be able to use the technology we have to enhance and scale up their production.

“We know that if we can add an additional hectare of farmland to the level of farming we are doing now, we would have created four employments. It is one hectare, four people. Our plan is to have 100,000 hectares of farmland in each senatorial zone. That would amount to 400,000 jobs in each zone and 1.2 million jobs generated from agriculture alone across the state.

“We intend to do that by designating these areas as special economic zones so that the friction that the commercial farmers would ordinarily have with the communities would be avoided by such designation. We will work with the State House of Assembly to harmonize the land tenure system so that we can plot them depending on the size of what investors want to do”, he said.

He reiterated his commitment to move agriculture from the manual and pipeline method of cultivation to platform and technology-enabled agro-allied industrialisation where there would be value in the chain of production such as processing, packaging, storage facilities and infrastructure that would facilitate transportation of farm produce to the market.

He emphasized that his administration would embark on aggressive investment drive to create employment and ensure exponential economic growth.

“Our job as a government is to enable the environment for investment and that could be by several ways. Because the only business we have as a government in Enugu State is to make the state the preferred destination for investment, we are interested in de-risking investment flow. It could be by going into partnership with the prospective investors. It could be by making sure we undertake to provide some parts of that investment such as infrastructure.

“Our plan is also to ensure that as we are bringing in these investors, we are also aggressively training our youths; which is why we talk about skills acquisition centres; technical and vocational training centres and practical skills that are relevant to this ecosystem of investors and industries that we are going to be experiencing here in Enugu State.

Tinubu To Address Farmers’ Plights With  Commodity Exchange Commission

Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinibu has promised robust agricultural policies, including the introduction of Commodity Exchange Commission (CEC) if elected President of the country next year.

Tinubu, who is visiting Niger state for the third time ahead of the 2023 general election has appointed the Governor of Kebbi state who is also the Chairman of Progressive Governor’s Forum (PGF), Senator Abubakar Bagudu as the Chairman of the Agriculture sub-committee.

He told his supporters that he is able and capable of making Nigeria better than it is today against the backdrop of speculations of being not in good health conditions.

Addressing the northern Agro-commodity group stakeholders, Senator Tinubu further hinted that the CEC which will be established immediately he assumes office will boost agricultural value chain of Nigeria not only for local food sufficiency but for export purposes.

He added:“Once I emerge President next year, I will immediately set up commodity exchange commission to carter for our teaming farmers”, Tinubu said, adding that for Nigerian agricultural products to compete with others in the international market, the produce must have quality that meets international standards.

Tinubu,who assured Nigerians of a renewed hope and prospects for better days ahead for citizenry said he will be on the side of the Nigerian masses in keeping to his electioneering campaign promises.

Meanwhile, the APC Presidential hopeful has announced the appointment of Kebbi state Governor, Senator Abubakar Bagudu as the Chairman of the Agriculture sub-committee who should immediately liaise with the Director-General of his campaign team, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state and his Vice Presidential candidate, Alhaji Kashim Shittima in fashioning out a workable Agricultural blueprint for his administration.

According to Tinubu, “I am with immediate effect appointing Governor Bagudu of Kebbi state to chair our agricultural sector and fashion out our blue print and road map towards Nigeria’s agricultural prosperity from next year, insha Allahu”

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state had earlier in his welcome address reiterated the importance of Agricultural value chain especially for the northern part of the country, Niger state in particular using the verse land space to its advantage.

“Northern Nigeria, and indeed Niger state in particular is the undisputed food lifeline of Nigeria”, the Governor boasts, adding that the administration under his leadership in order to consolidate the Agricultural sector initiated some policies by resuscitating 19 moribund irrigation schemes.

Bello also told his host and the gathering that he rehabilitated 300 km of rural access roads under its RAMP World Bank assisted programme, and gazetted 8 out of the 25 grazing routes in the state including the popular Bobi games reserve with over 36,000 hectares of land.

AfDB, FCMB Sign $50m Deal On Improved SMEs

The African Development Bank, has signed an agreement with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) for a $50 million line of credit to support access to finance for small and medium-sized and women-empowered enterprises.

FCMB will use the line of credit to expand lending activities that will boost the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery and drive more inclusive and climate-resilient growth. It will focus on enterprises in Nigeria’s agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy sectors.

The African Development Bank is also providing a complementary technical assistance package of $285,000 under its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative. The grant funding, provided by the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi), will support enhancing financial literacy, business management and entrepreneurial skills for women led businesses as well as strengthening FCMB’s monitoring and reporting functions.

The African Development Bank’s Director General for Nigeria, Lamin Barrow, explained that he bank’s support to FCMB will advance the objectives of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, which seeks to improve gender inclusivity by enhancing access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

“With at least 30 percent of the funding from the Line of Credit to be channelled to women owned businesses, FCMB will be better positioned to scale up the deployment of its tailored products and services to meet the needs of SMEs and women-owned businesses,” Barrow said.

FCMB’s Managing Director, Yemisi Edun, said, “We are happy to collaborate with the African Development Bank to create expanded opportunities and accelerate post-COVID-19 pandemic business recovery for SMEs and women-owned businesses in Nigeria through funding and technical support. We are intentional about collaboration that upskills entrepreneurs, drives industrialisation, and creates economic value, wealth and employment for Nigerians.”

She said that the agreement affirmed the African Development Bank’s confidence in FCMB’s growth potential and corporate governance structures.

The project is expected to improve access to finance for at least 50 enterprises: 29 in the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, 9 in renewable energy and 13 in the healthcare industry. It will create a minimum of 1000 jobs and enable roughly 14 female entrepreneurs to gain access to long-term funding.

The African Development Bank anchors its current Nigeria strategy on two pillars: supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development. Its current Nigeria portfolio comprises 53 operations with a total value of $4.5 billion. Thirty of these operations, with a value of $2.7 billion, are sovereign operations; the 23 non-sovereign operations have a value of $1.8 billion.

African Development Bank, Partners Unveil $520m Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones To Boost Nigeria’s Agriculture

African Development Bank and partners have launched Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) to end hunger and achieve food security in Nigeria.

President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina,said he Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones are new economic zones, located in rural areas, to be fully supported by infrastructure (power, water, roads, digital infrastructure, and logistics) that will allow food and agribusiness companies to locate within such zones.

He added:”This will put them close to farmers in production catchment areas, provide market offtakes for farmers, support processing and value addition, reduce food losses, and allow the emergence of highly competitive food and agricultural value chains.”

The launch ceremony in the capital Abuja, kick-starts the implementation of phase one of the SAPZ program in eight states across the country.

The African Development Bank is providing funding of $210 million, with the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) jointly providing $310 million. The Nigerian government is contributing $18.05 million.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, in remarks delivered by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, commended the initiative and said, “if the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones program delivers on its objectives, and we have no doubt that it will, then we would in less than a decade have dealt a fatal blow to food insecurity, create millions of good paying agro-industrial jobs and opportunities and radically improve export earnings from agriculture.”

Adesina said: “Hunger in Nigeria cannot be justified. Nigeria has the land, with 34 million hectares of arable land with rich and diverse agroecology. It has the water. It has the labor. It has great sunshine. Nigeria must achieve zero hunger. There is no reason for anyone to go hungry in Nigeria.”

To help Africa prevent a food crisis from the Russia-Ukraine war, the African Development Bank launched a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to support 20 million farmers to access climate resilient agricultural technologies and produce 38 million metric tons of food valued at $12 billion.

“The African Emergency Food Production Facility provided $134 million to Nigeria, one of the highest levels of support across African countries. I would like to thank the Japanese International Development Agency (JICA) for co-financing this with an additional $110 million. That means we collectively made available $244 million for emergency food production in Nigeria,” the bank group head said.

Noting that the latest Global Hunger Index (2022) ranks Nigeria 103rd among 121 countries facing hunger crisis in the world, Adesina called for “greater action, responsiveness, and delivery to avert a food crisis in Nigeria”.

“Nigeria must decisively tackle insecurity challenges that prevent farmers from going to the farms. Food security needs national security,” said Adesina.

According to the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, “with the disruption of supplies arising from the war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food imports from Russia and Ukraine, especially for wheat, maize, and soybeans. Urgent actions are needed to prevent a food crisis in Africa.”

He expressed confidence Nigeria will efficiently implement the SAPZ program which will boost food production, reduce food price inflation, and transform the agriculture sector while assuring food security and creating jobs.

The Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Ms. Katherine Meighan, said her organization is determined to contribute to the overall goal of the SAPZ programme by empowering 100,000 direct beneficiaries including smallholders, small processors, traders and service providers in Ogun and Kano State, with a strong focus on youth and women.

“Our empowerment strategy aims to equip farmers and smallholders to take advantage of the markets created by the SAPZ to sustainably enhance their income through income-generating activities, household food security and nutrition, and resilience to climate change,” said Meighan.

The Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones will develop value chains for selected strategic crops in Nigeria, including maize, cassava, rice, soybean, cocoa, poultry, and livestock products. They will also create millions of quality jobs, especially for youth and women.

Speaking on behalf of the phase one participating states and the Federal Capital Territory, the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade praised the innovativeness of the program and said “the SAPZ program will help Nigeria develop an economy independent of oil. The program is a classical departure from other projects we know.”

The first phase of the program will include seven States: Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The SAPZ program has already garnered huge momentum as an additional 19 State governments have expressed strong interest to participate in the program.